Delaware Football Assistant Coach Nick Rapone Named FootballScoop NCAA Division I FCS Coordinator of the Year
File Photo Courtesy of Dan Cook
December 21, 2010
NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware Defensive Coordinator Nick Rapone (at right), who has led a Blue Hen defense that has been ranked among the nation’s finest this fall, earned a big honor this week as he was named the 2010 FootballScoop NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Coordinator of the Year presented by SpeedTrac.
Rapone, a fifth-year member of head coach K.C. Keeler’s staff, was selected based on nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. A panel of coaches, including previous recipients, determined the 2010 winners. The other finalists this season included Brent Pry of Georgia Southern, Mark Orlando of Bethune-Cookman, and Nat Woody of Wofford.
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The Blue Hens (12-2) defeated Georgia Southern 27-10 last Saturday in the NCAA FCS semifinals to advance to the national championship game Jan. 7 in Frisco, Tex. Delaware, the tournament No. 3 seed and the fifth-ranked team in the nation, will face No. 5 seed and top-ranked Eastern Washington (12-2) at Pizza Hut Park in the title game. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2.
"Our program is really blessed to have someone like Nick who is not only a tremendous football coach but just a great person and a leader of young men,” said Keeler, who led the Blue Hens to the 2003 national title and a 2007 national runner-up finish. “I know that I'm a better football coach having worked with Nick over the last five years. He is a genuine guy and he is a proud to be a Delaware man. He preaches it and he lives it. I couldn't be happier for him to receive this honor."
Under Rapone, the University of Delaware defense has been exceptional, ranking among the national leaders in almost every category. The Blue Hens have led the nation in scoring defense all season and currently allow just 11.5 points per game, including just 33 points in three NCAA playoff games. The Delaware defense also ranks fifth in total defense (277.4 yards per game), eighth in passing efficiency defense (98.64), No. 15 in rushing defense (111.0 yard per game), and No. 19 in passing defense (166.4 yards per game).
In addition, the Blue Hen defense has forced 31 turnovers (No. 6 in NCAA), limited opponents to 29 percent success on third downs (No. 6 nationally), and just 43 percent succes in the red zone (No. 4 nationally). The unit has been led by a pair of All-American defensive backs in Anthony Walters and Anthony Bratton.
A 1979 graduate of Virginia Tech, Rapone coached at Pittsburgh, East Tennessee State, Temple, and Connecticut before arriving at Delaware in 2006.
Previous winners of the FCS Coordinator of the Year award are Heishma Northern (Prairie View A&M, 2008) and Bob Shoop (William & Mary, 2009).